Al Jazeera Promotes Terrorism. Social Media Must Deplatform AJ & AJ+.

Despite commanding millions of social media followers, AJ+ is anything but progressive in agenda, belonging to the larger Al Jazeera network that has for long amplified and glorified terrorism.

The war on terror is not merely combative. To eliminate terror, one must defeat its roots—its financial lifelines, its ideologies and proponents thereof.

Like no other, the Al Jazeera (AJ) network has endorsed and amplified the voices of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)—interviewing their members, broadcasting their rallies, and glorifying their dead as “martyrs.” AJ reporters have shaken terrorists’ hands, and have amplified their voices, unto the point of physically lifting microphones to their mouths. AJ has become a proxy for terrorists, enabling them fame, and thus, opportunity to mobilize support and funding.

Nevertheless, American millennials continue fueling this cycle by subscribing to AJ+ on social media, an Al Jazeera English medium commanding 11+ million Facebook subscribers and 1 million Twitter subscribers. Despite featuring progressive content to attract westerners, AJ+ actually belongs to the AJ network, the state-owned media proxy for Qatar—one of the largest sponsors of terrorism. Millennials must recognize AJ’s true agenda, and disenfranchise their support for a network that fuels terrorism.

To expedite this process, and as a matter of precedent, social media outlets—especially FB, Twitter, and Youtube—must deplatform AJ as they have done so for others accused of promoting violence. Such a gesture would undermine AJ’s ability to influence the masses and to incite terror.   

Al Jazeera’s role in promoting violence is overwhelming. Through its Youtube channel—“Al Jazeera Mubasher”—AJ has covered hours, if not days, worth of speeches from Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, a violent organization avowing Israel’s destruction.

As recent as August 2019, AJ published a speech, titled “Ismail Haniyeh: We will not stop building the jihadist military force to liberate Palestine.” While in Arabic, Haniyeh throughout reveals his “resistance” strategy, which includes strengthening ties with Iran, and the ultimate goal of “historic Palestine,” implicating Israel’s destruction. The speech, militaristic in nature, culminates with Haniyeh pledging to “continue to develop military capabilities, above and below ground.” 

Al Jazeera has kowtowed to treat Haniyeh—a terrorist who has called for Hamas’s military wing to “strike, strike, Tel Aviv”—as a respected celebrity, granting him the ability to address the world on matters completely irrelevant to the “Palestinian struggle.” In July 2019, Haniyeh congratulated the Algerian soccer team on its victory in the African Cup. Through granting Haniyeh such undeserved exposure, AJ normalizes Haniyeh as a respected authority, allowing him to remain in the public eye and to mobilize support for his violent agenda.

In another AJ broadcast, Haniyeh speaks before a mural of a knife-bearing terrorist and Yahya Ayyash, once Hamas’s “chief bomb maker.” The video’s description glorifies the bomb maker, observing that the speech was delivered “in memory of the martyrdom of the leader of the Qassam Brigades Yahya Ayyash.”

Furthermore, AJ has streamed footage of funerals for the Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing. One AJ video glorifies footage of a Hamas funeral, titling it: “A spectacular scene of the funeral of two martyrs of the Qassam Brigades in the presence of Ismail Haniyeh.” Another AJ broadcast—titled “Meet one of the martyrs of the Qassam tunnel that collapsed in Gaza”—dedicates nearly 20 minutes of airtime, allowing a terrorist’s parents to commemorate their son. Hence, AJ celebrates Hamas’s terrorists, referring to them as “martyrs,” and their funerals as “spectacular.”

However, AJ’s support for terror also extends to the PIJ’s military: Saraya al-Quds. An Iranian-backed group, the PIJ seeks Israel’s destruction, targeting Israel with suicide and rocket attacks.

AJ has interviewed PIJ members, enthusiastically greeting, and even, thanking them. In one broadcast, an AJ reporter exchanges Ramadan greetings with a PIJ gunman, shakes his hand, and thanks him for interviewing. He later joins the jihadists, sitting on the floor as they break their fast. 

In another interview, the same reporter physically lifts a PIJ fighter’s hand and microphone to his mouth to ensure that his every word is heard. Hence, AJ literally amplifies violent jihad, doing so through interviews proactively conducted on jihadist bases.       

AJ has further amplified jihadist ideology by streaming live PIJ conferences. One such is titled, “Islamic Jihad Movement conference on the Jerusalem operation that killed 3 Israeli soldiers,” whereby the speaker proclaims, “Yes, for continuing the Intifada.” While literally meaning “uprising,” “Intifada” refers to campaigns of violent terror against Israeli citizens. Hence, AJ has also amplified calls for violence.      

Further, AJ has glorified those executing the violence, referring to PIJ members as “martyrs.” One broadcast is titled, “The funeral of a member of Saraya Al-Quds who was martyred today…” Hence, AJ has amplified, endorsed, and glorified PIJ terrorists.

Similarly, AJ has broadcasted full rallies and conferences for the PFLP, a terrorist organization notorious for plane hijackings and murder. In one broadcast, AJ live streams a PFLP press conference. In another, AJ broadcasts a ceremony commemorating the life of George Habash—founder of the PFLP. Thereby, AJ normalizes terror, while publicizing the PFLP’s ideology to the masses, whereby it can mobilize support.       

Lastly, as it has done with Hamas and the PIJ, AJ has glorified the PFLP’s dead. Here is a 53 minute broadcast of a rally, which Al Jazeera titled: “The Popular Front organizes a popular festival to mark the 13th anniversary of the martyrdom of its leader Abu Ali Mustafa.” The PFLP’s current military wing is named after Abu Ali Mustafa, a high profile terrorist, which AJ has deemed a “martyr.”

Ultimately, Al Jazeera’s role in promoting violence is undeniable. AJ has streamlined an agenda that empowers terrorists, glorifying aspiring murderers with airtime, fame, and “martyr” status. Having previously deplatformed others for promoting violence, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter must likewise deplatform AJ for its role in promoting terrorism.   

About the Author
A law student at the University of Texas at Austin, Jordan Cope majored in International Relations, speaks Arabic and Hebrew, and has published essays on Palestinian foreign aid and Qatar’s sponsorship of terror. Jordan can be followed on Twitter @JordanCope12.
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